The New Southbound Policy and Taiwan's Role in Facilitating Grassroots Connections in the Indo-Pacific Region

  • Date:2018-04-30

Prospect Journal No.19 (April 2018)

With the rise of China, the US and allies, Japan, Australia, and India, are attempting to develop a regional security architecture that will continue to bring prosperity and peace under the layout of an Indo-Pacific strategy. Source: U.S. Pacific Fleet, flickr,

      With the “Indo-Pacific Strategy” as the main item of its foreign policy, the U.S.A. is keen to cooperate with countries in the Indo-Pacific region. This issue of the Journal features essays by invited scholars who are long-term observers of the security strategy of the US, Japan, India, Australia, and Taiwan. The Chairman of the Prospect Foundation also provides his opinion about how the New Southbound Policy might facilitate grassroots connections in the Indo-Pacific region. The essays also provide policy suggestions to serve as a reference for think tanks worldwide.

The New Southbound Policy and Taiwan’s Role in Facilitating Grassroots Connections in the Indo-Pacific Region

Tan-sun Chen
Chairman of the Prospect Foundation,
Former Foreign Minister, Taiwan

     Since its inception in 2016, the New Southbound Policy has received positive responses from many regional partners in Southeast Asia, South Asia and beyond. We live in an exciting age in which social and technological advancements require us to think outside the box. In an increasingly dynamic environment, it is important for us to involve more participants and stakeholders to formulate effective solutions. This can only be achieved by combining the efforts of the public and private sectors as well as civil society. The New Southbound Policy, with its emphasis on creating diverse forms of human linkages, seeks to foster civil society connections among the diverse countries in the Indo-Pacific Region. By creating multi-layered connections between Taiwan and India, this relationship will evolve into a stronger and more resilient partnership, as both countries are facing common regional challenges and working towards building regional prosperity. The sky is the only limit.

US Strategy of “A Free and Open Indo-Pacific”: A Perspective of Taiwan

Hseik-wen Soong
Professor, Institute of Strategic and International Affairs,
Dean, College of Social Science, National Chung Cheng University

     The strategic construct of the Indo-Pacific region has drawn attention from both scholars and practitioners since President Trump's administration presented the concept of Indo-Pacific strategy in October 2017 and Trump popularized it during his first Asia trip in November 2017. The Asia-Pacific region is becoming the center of gravity of economic development, and this has been driven profoundly by the assurance of security on the global commons. The US has played a significant role in the provision of this security, with Japan and Australia emerging as vital regional partners in this effort. While the US presence in the region was motivated primarily by its Cold War aim of containing communism, the post-ColdWar period has demanded a fresh approach to security in a “Broader Asia.” Transforming geopolitical and strategic considerations, however, has raised questions on the continued efficacy of the traditional approach. With the rise of China and its growing influence in the region, the US and allies Japan, Australia, India, and Taiwan, under US support, are attempting to develop a regional security architecture that will continue to bring prosperity and peace under the layout of an Indo-Pacific strategy. Thus, the United States may promote the security cooperation agenda and cooperation with Japan, India, and Australia further to construct a new “Indo-Pacific Strategy” via the “Quad Dialogue,” which may include Taiwan in the near future. Therefore, Taiwan should make itself ready for this new regional security structure.

Keywords: China Rise, Indo-Pacific Strategy, Asia-Pacific Security, US-Taiwan-China Relations,

                    Taiwan's Role in Indo-Pacific Region

Japan's Roles in the Indo-Pacific Strategy

Yujen Kuo
Professor, Institute of China and Asia-Pacific Studies,
National Sun Yat-sen University


        The Indo-Pacific strategy is threat-driven security cooperation among like-minded maritime countries to promote rules-based regional order in responding to the rapid strategic and power structural changes characterized by China's assertive behaviors in the region, which pose increasing challenges to the U.S. and its allies in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Japan has been vigorously promoting the Quad cooperation in carrying out the Indo-Pacific strategy largely to facilitate and institutionalize Japan’s maritime security cooperation with surrounding nations and allow Japan to play a leading role in the region. In addition to bilateral security ties with the U.S., Australia, India, and many other countries, Japan’s strategic choice to network with more strategic partners in the region also implies a hedging stance to avoid the dilemma of both abandonment and entrapment during a major power struggle between the U.S. and China, which would allow Japan more diplomatic and security maneuverability. It will also largely decrease Japan’s time and the costs-pressure of regional security burden-sharing demanded by the U.S. and simultaneously elicit higher U.S. engagement in the region with collective structures. Thus, the Indo-Pacific strategy is not about forming an anti-China alliance of nations but a trilateral, minilateral, functional and regional coalition against China's provocative actions, by joint exercises and training, capacity-building, and promoting regional communication platforms.

Keywords: Indo-Pacific Strategy, Minilateral, South China Sea, China Threat, China-U.S. Relations

Act East in the Indo-Pacific: India and Quad 2.0

Roger Liu
Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences,
FLAME University, India


      The Trump Administration has announced the “Indo-Pacific” strategy in 2017/2018, in which India is described as “a Major Defense Partner” of the US. New Delhi responded cautiously with the possibility of collaboration within its own framework of “Act East Policy (AEP).” Will - or how well will - the Indo-Pacific strategy, or “Quad 2.0”work with AEP? I trace the history and evolution of AEP and identify the core elements of it: trade, development, security, and multilateralism. I argue that, if Quad 2.0 can continue to be a flexible, open, and inclusive platform that goes beyond only military cooperation, the prospect of synergy is good. Compared with “Quad 1.0” initiated by Shinzo Abe in 2007, conditions have changed for Quad 2.0 with more incentives for the four Indo-Pacific countries coming together to counterbalance the growing influence of China in the region.
Keywords: Donald Trump, Indo-Pacific Strategy, Act East Policy, Quad 2.0, India

Australia and the Revival of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue

Cheng-fung Lu
Assistant Professor, Department of International and Mainland China Affairs,
National Quemoy University


      Australia lacks capabilities required to be considered among the major powers, but it still intends to influence the regional security environment. Before “Indo-Pacific” emerged as an influential term within Australian strategic debate, the Defence White Paper 2013 identified Australia’s region within the “Indo-Pacific strategic arc” for the first time. “The Quad” initiative, which was intended to facilitate conversation and cooperation between the US, Japan, Australia, and India (the four maritime democracies), lasted from mid-2006 to early 2008. After Kevin Rudd defeated the four-term Prime Minister John Howard in the November 2007 election, however, Australia withdrew from the summit. As the four countries’ perceptions of China’s assertiveness have aligned much more closely since then, all partners have thought about how to make the Quad resilient. This article explores the Australian security strategy and the Quad’s revival, and it will include an overview of and introduction to the “Quad’s revival,” Australia’s Indo-Pacific security strategy system, Australia-Japan-US trilateral security, and the overall outlook for the Quad.

Keywords: Quad, Indo-Pacific, Balancing China, Australia Security Strategy, Trilateral Security Dialogue


The Role Taiwan May Play in the Context of US-China Indo-Pacific Strategy

Jiann-fa Yan
Professor, Department of Business Administration,
Chien Hsin University of Science and Technology,
Vice President, Taiwan Foundation for Democracy


       Confrontation between China and the US has been on the rise. China is challenging US hegemony in both the economy and security. Nevertheless, as a whole, the US remains dominant while China is struggling with internal and external challenges. There exist policy continuities from Obama to Trump in containing China's rising. Trump's Indo-Pacific framework is even wider than Obama's Rebalance to Asia. Moreover, neighboring regional powers such as Japan, Australia, India, and even the EU, are very active in fitting themselves into the Indo-Pacific framework. Taiwan may play a role as an unsinkable aircraft carrier for the US and its allies in checking China's rise. Taiwan may also play the role of a beacon for China's democratization.

Keywords: Rebalance to Asia, A New Type of Great Power Relations, One Belt/One Road, New Southbound

                    Policy, Indo-Pacific Strategy


  • Update:2018-10-30